The Global Leadership Conundrum

The USA has played the role of Global leader in the past century, however, in recent years it has been giving its position by increasingly turning more inward and narrow in its outlook. The essay examines the growing problem of global leadership gap in resolving global problems by discussing the backing out of the USA as the global leader in recent years and highlights the leadership crisis.

The Global leader can be defined as a country which brings together various nations of the world and leads them by setting the agenda for the comity of nations. In a globalised world characterised by increasing political, economic and cultural interconnectedness, the actions on the global front require a nation or group of nations which can lead by developing innovative means to resolve global problems.

The fall of the USA as a global leader began with the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. The withdrawal was the biggest blunder in humanity’s fight against climate change and the problems of global commons.

In the next phase, Protectionist measures based on the narrow economic nationalist outlook led to the withdrawal from trade cooperative regimes like TransPacific partnership. This was also seen in the case of a trade war with China and delisting of developing countries from GSP. The USA has not been able to develop mutual partnerships and it has increasingly adopted a confrontationist approach towards the issues of trade ad investment.

Presently, the COVID 19 is creating havoc in the global economy as seen in the decline in growth estimates and the stock markets. However, the USA is nowhere visible in the global arena as seen during the previous global crises.USA rise as a superpower in the post-world war era was after a long period of its isolationist foreign policy. From World War 2, the US has been a leader in the setting up of Bretonwood institutions, UN organisations, OECD, NPT and other weapon control regimes.

The world has witnessed a leadership gap as no country seems to actively lead humanity in fighting the global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, pandemics and the rising inequality. This crisis needs to be filled by liberal like-minded nations so that we can prevent global challenges that the planet earth faces.

(Written by -Mohit John,Stanford University)

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